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Jeff
Ramen Elitist



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2805 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
Jeff
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Ramen Elitist
PostWed Dec 26, 2018 6:19 pm 
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Christmas had the most decent weather forecast and I've been wanting to go here for a while. The road was clear but the pullout I parked in had a lot of black ice, as I learned as soon as I exited. Lots of cars going east, maybe to Heather Meadows.

Anyways, the snowline was high. It was thin around 3000 and solid at 3500. I should have put snowshoes on at 3700, but I was stubborn and waited until 4500. I think one or two people (plus a dog) were up there the day before because there were tracks until the clearing at 5200. I'm really glad I didn't have to schwack straight up the thing. But I had it all to myself on this day.

Hole
Hole

The tracks stopped at treeline so I had to break out the map and compass despite having clear visibility. My intended route was to Excelsior Pass and then up the west ridge of the peak. I was below a steep knob with a bunch of wetslide signs. Was it Excelsior or Point 5440? I could find a safe route up to the left or the right, but I wasn't sure where the corect pass was. Right just looked better, but my compass said left. I made my way up to the pass and by golly my compass was right. It's amazing how you never want to trust it but it never lies.

Hole
Hole

Now I never noticed earlier but this hike quickly enters wilderness but it ends at the ridge. How did I know? Because there wasn't a single patch of untracked snow bigger than a small house. But I didn't see or hear a single sled...

Hole
Hole

...Until I went a few hundred feet up the west ridge of excelsior. Someone had a bad day earlier this week. I'm not sure why they left it behind, but there were bits of plastic all around it in the snow and one of the headlights was busted.

Hole
Hole
Hole
Hole

The west ridge was a bit narrow and steep so I went around the north side to the east ridge. Much better!

After admiring the views for a few minutes, I went for my camera and then I was immediately covered with fog and flurries. At least there was no wind and it wasn't bitter cold. I do wish I had gotten a photo of Baker thought; it was very shiney!

Hole
Hole
Hole
Hole
Hole
Hole

I only saw two hikers on the way down. Microspikes were not needed but snowshoes were very nice above 4000.

Hole
Hole

On a side note, I was amazed at the terrain that had been high marked. I would have given the buried weak layer a wider berth if I were riding a 400 pound machine. Of course I've been called conservative in the past.

Also I thought Flickr would give me the option to label each photo, but it must have applied it to all the photos in the album and I'm too lazy to fix it. I might have to go back to Google : (
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Excelsior 12/25/18
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